Frank Strobel, who believes in transcending perceived divisions between artistic genres, is renowned as a conductor, ...
Frank Strobel, who believes in transcending perceived divisions between artistic genres, is renowned as a conductor, arranger, editor, producer and studio musician. He has been active for many years in the space where films meet music and is a leading figure in the field of film in concert. He has taken silent movies into opera houses and concert halls and is also admired as a conductor of concert repertoire of the Classical and Romantic eras and the 20th century.
Strobel grew up in the surroundings of his parents’ cinema in Munich. As a 16-year-old he obtained a piano score of Gottfried Huppertz‘s original music for Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece Metropolis, which he rearranged and then played to accompany the film. The final arrangement of Metropolis has again played a determining role in Strobel’s career after an original copy of the film was discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires. The much-anticipated premiere of the restored version of Metropolis took place at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival with Strobel conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Strobel is also in demand internationally for performances of music by the late-Romantic composers Franz Schreker, Alexander von Zemlinsky and Siegfried Wagner, whose works he has both revived and premiered. His open-minded musical philosophy struck a chord with the great Russian-born composerAlfred Schnittke, who came to see Strobel as an ideal interpreter of his works and commissioned him to make concert suites from a selection of his film scores; this led to recordings with the Berlin RadioSymphony Orchestra, which in 2005 and 2006 received the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. Strobel also reconstructed and published Prokofiev’s score for Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky, conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his edition at Konzerthaus Berlin in 2004; this was followed by a performance at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. In 2006, at Dresden’s Semperoper Strobel conducted the Sächsische Staatskapelle for a screening of Robert Wiene‘s 1925 film of "Der Rosenkavalier", with the reconstructed Strauss’ original orchestral score. A much more recent film, the science fiction extravaganza "The Matrix" was screened at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2011, with Don Davis‘ score performed live by Frank Strobel and the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hannover.
2014 brought the commemoration of the outbreak of World War I with the world premiere at the Salle Pleyel in Paris of Philippe Schoeller’s newly-written score for Abel Gance’s 1919 film, "J’accuse"; Frank Strobel conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. A TV presentation by ZDF/arte of the classic 1920s film Zur Chronik von Grieshuus brought a new collaboration between Strobel and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; the team of conductor and orchestra had already recorded the music for the prizewinning German TV thriller "Im Schmerz geboren" and they were reunited in November 2015 at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper to provide the live soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: "A Space Odyssey".
Among his many film-related concerts in the 2015-16 season was a presentation of F.W. Murnau’s rediscovered "Tartüff" (1925) at the Komische Oper in Berlin.
With the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra he explored the connections between two historic films: "Pacific 231" (1949, music by Arthur Honegger) and "Berlin, Sinfonie einer Großstadt" (1927, score by Edmund Meisel). Over the season Strobel is conducting Milan’s Filarmonica della Scala in "Metropolis", the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in Pablo Berger’s 2012 silent movie "Blancanieves", with a score by Alfonso de Vilallonga, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic in Charlie Chaplin’s "The Gold Rush". At London’s Royal Festival Hall, he will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra and the violinist Vadim Repin in the world premiere of a new score written by Aphrodite Raickopoulou for the Greta Garbo film Love. He will also appear in a concert of symphonic works by Dvořák and Shostakovich with the Poznán Philharmonic Orchestra.
Frank Strobel enjoys close relationships in Germany with Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hannover, Staatskapelle Weimar and internationally with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, and with major concert halls such as the Cologne Philharmonie, the Paris Philharmonie and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
Frank Strobel acts as an adviser to ZDF/arte for its silent film programming. Since 2000 he has been artistic director of the EUROPEAN FILMPHILHARMONIC INSTITUTE, which he co-founded and which has built a reputation for its expertise in authentic performances of film scores.